Archive for March, 2009

Toradora 25 – So the love birds flew …

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

To be entirely honest, I will graduate from university tomorrow afternoon. I was expecting Toradora to come out some time after my graduation, but I’m glad it came out early especially for the last episode. Thank you, CoalGuys! This is a very nice graduation present.

Yasuko is attractive this time around.

Yasuko is attractive this time around.

The final episode of Toradora addressed the cliffhangers of the previous episode, and it was very good. I guess this is simply up to personal preferences, but I wasn’t moved to tears in this final episode. I think I smiled throughout the episode, however.

I liked how the episode ended exactly how it began: with two birds on a wire, together. Somehow, the producers made us realize that the pair were Taiga and Ryuuji, together in the thin and dangerous electric wire of life. The array somehow paints an illustration of placidity amidst danger and death: being electrocuted is no laughing matter, and yet they’re together with one another in facing it. I thought it was apt.

Ryuuji, despite having plans of running away, faced his familial problems and ultimately resolved them, having Yasuko and her parents reconcile. Ryuuji also discovered the depth of his mother’s love when she pushed through with single-handedly raising Ryuuji despite having everyone desire her abortion. (A more profane thought: Yasuko was very attractive this episode. Despite being just in pajamas and a loose ponytail, I thought she was absolutely stunning.) Ryuuji and her have also resolved their problems, and I’m happy for them as well.

I also loved the kissing scene between Ryuuji and Taiga which happened afterwards. I loved it when Taiga was all ‘once more …’ again and again. She remained true to her tsundere archetype and yet also so true to herself. That was a beautiful scene.

I couldn’t understand why she transferred to a different school, though. Was it to appease her mother, or at least to get to know her mother more? Compared to her dad, Taiga’s mom was truly concerned about Taiga despite their differences. I do know Ryuuji suggested they wait for the parents of both of their sides to approve: while Yasuko I think is all for it I doubt Taiga’s mother would like the idea immediately.

Here's some cute Minori.

Here's some cute Minori.


Finally, I absolutely, absolutely loved the final conversation between Ami and Ryuuji. She has finally shown herself to be a caring child, a child, yes, but one who cares for the welfare of others. Did anyone notice the birds flying through the window? At the very last second before the scene segues once again to between Ami and Ryuuji, the two birds part ways. Ryuuji has moved on, and so has Ami: she doesn’t mind so long as one person understands her, even if it isn’t love.

And it ends as it begins: life is a cycle, and love is a part of it.

P.S. I’m glad Noto and Maya are making progress with one another. Kitamura really is chasing Sumire. I admire that. Inko-chan also finally spoke its own name, and the birds finally fly away together. C’est la vie.

Toradora – 24: a good anime

Friday, March 20th, 2009

This was the episode that confirmed Toradora’s inclusion within the list of good anime. That’s both a good and a bad thing, because, at least for me, it could no longer be great; however, it still remains a good series.

This scene was poignant.

This scene was poignant.

Episodes of confession are, undoubtedly, among the most climactic and cathartic episodes in great anime. I quite fondly recall, even three years after, the sixth episode of Honey and Clover where Yamada confessed to Mayama in her desperation and drunken stupor, to which Mayama can tastefully but fruitlessly reply to with but whispers of recognition. The final episode of the series, which was the culmination of Takemoto’s bike journey to discover himself, was capped by his confession to Hagu. It wasn’t accepted: but it was recognized, and all of his journey without to find himself within was finally completed with that final scene. It is only with the best and the great that scenes of confession are both so epiphanic and heartwarming, something I didn’t find with this episode.

Don’t get me wrong: it was a good episode. But it was far from great. While I was grateful that Minori’s hypocrisy was finally resolved, I really didn’t see her reasons to Ryuuji as that convincing: my friend, which I consulted (but was not spoiled by) also shared the same feelings regarding the episode. At least for me, it seemed too sudden and apocryphal, so it didn’t really sweep me off my feet. I appreciated Minori’s sacrifice: it was seen that she was heavily affected by Ryuuji and really did like him quite a lot. Somehow, however, I also felt that it wouldn’t have been like that if Minori actually faced the problem in the first place. I loved how they subtly showed Minori’s feelings for Ryuuji. When she goaded him to pursue Taiga she hit his mouth. After he was gone she kissed it: it was a poignant scene, and probably the most poignant one in the episode. She would probably love having a romance, but she has other priorities; an indirect kiss must do.

I think that the inherent problem of the episode was that it bit off a lot more than it could chew. While it would have sufficed as an episode dealing with them struggling with their feelings until the penultimate moment, it had to deal with their family affairs. Ultimately, it’s become cluttered and unfocused. I loved the scenes with Minori; I loved how Ami made Ryuuji seriously confess that he loved Taiga; but there was just much noise that it detracted from me calling the series great.

Toradora, at least in its first twenty episodes, was a show consistently amazing. It was a show I always looked forward to, a show I always waited upon. I still have that feeling. However, I also have that feeling that it has simply run out of steam, or simply trying to compress too much into too little. Honey and Clover also had that: at first, I didn’t know where Takemoto’s bike journey led to. However, it sacrificed a few middling moments in the middle of the series to build up a most wonderful conclusion: Takemoto’s confession to Hagu was him finally gaining the courage (through what he learned in the bike ride towards himself) to realize that rejection is not the end of the world. The ending was a beautiful explosion of fireworks, both literally and figuratively.

Toradora sacrificed this in its closing episodes. It’s still a good series, but not one I could call great anymore. And before anyone says otherwise, I still love the show. 🙂

Toradora 23: questions

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Ever since episode thirteen I’ve known that a relationship between Ami and Ryuuji would never happen. I’d like to ask some things, however, since this episode featured a lot more Ami than the previous seven episodes. Most of us recognize Ami having something between mere infatuation and romantic interest in Ryuuji, but did she really stay just so she could help Taiga? If so, was all of those teases of hers merely acts to force Taiga into acting?

To be seen as a demigod, though, is simply quite frustrating especially when one perceives his flaws and his humanity. I guess this is the tragedy of Ami: maybe she looked to Ryuuji as a romantic interest because he saw her beyond her facade; he saw that she was also human. This is all left up in the air, though, since that statement really obfuscated what I initially thought. If anyone could clear that up, I’d be grateful.

I hope the next episode clears up the statement of Minori regarding her happiness only created by herself. I mean, it’s a reason to reject Ryuuji, but it’s not a very good one. In a relationship, both involved people must strive to create happiness. It’s not just one-way. Even without reading the novel, I think there were a lot of things removed, because it didn’t make the episode flow as it should have.

I can’t even write much about the episode. 🙁

File-sharing at its worst: a study

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Introduction

Ever since I started reading about and experimenting on file-sharing programs, I have had this quixotic fondness of it. Ultimately, I know that it’s not with the program itself but its userbase that provides the files, but that doesn’t stop me from experimenting with the different programs and their corresponding gimmickries: I have mulled over and studied different instances and permutations of file-sharing programs over the past week. After finally completing all the requirements prior to graduation, I have once again found the study of its different programs interesting and consuming. (I still watch anime, but the bulk of my time was spent attempting to scientifically observe the different properties of different file-sharing programs.) (more…)

Toradora – 22: His and her pain

Friday, March 6th, 2009

It can be argued that the previous episode was the climax of the series. Not only did the episode show the catharses of both Minori and Ami, it also featured Taiga’s subconscious confession to Ryuuji and subsequently Ryuuji’s realization that Taiga liked him a lot and was hurting herself immensely because of her desire to pair Minori and Ryuuji up. The event caused quite a ripple in Ryuuji’s psyche: the very first scene is his dream of that specific occurrence.

He was sleeping in class, however, so when he woke up screaming Taiga’s name (because they were falling into a ravine) it was with the rest of the class. While it was especially awkward for Ryuuji, both the teacher and the rest of the class understood the trauma Ryuuji was in, so they merely nodded and continued on with the discussion. It is extremely notable that when the camera pans to the rest of the class, Minori and Ami were not featured. Even Haruta’s silhouette at the very back is noticeable, but Ami and Minori are nowhere in the picture. After this, however, Minori is focused on, and she has a mix between a sad and a concerned face. (more…)

Reminiscing about Kazaa

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Back then when the most prevalent form of Internet connection was still dial-up, I discovered Kazaa. Older batchmates talked about it and how it got them the latest music for free; being ignorant, I hazarded to try it out. I wasn’t able to use much of it, however: it was primarily my older sister who asked me to obtain the popular songs of that time. I didn’t know about spyware back then, and I really didn’t care. However, as time passed I noticed that my computer functioned slower and slower. I wanted to get to the root of the matter, and so I started reading about Kazaa. A lot of people were decrying the presence of spyware in its program, so I read more about that. What is common knowledge nowadays was back then quite a formidable opponent, since spyware was still relatively new as well as silent yet insidious. Eventually that computer was reformatted: I, however, had already learned my lesson. I didn’t install the original Kazaa Media Desktop anymore.

This was the interface of Kazaa Media Desktop (the spyware-ridden version).

This was the interface of Kazaa Media Desktop (the spyware-ridden version).

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